An End? Or Simply a Transition…

by Miller Smith, DDS, MD, FRCD(C), FACS, FRCS(Edin)


As we entered 2020, many of us were looking forward to future travel plans, CAOMS courses and events, using our recently purchased tools and keeping on with our routines.

In a few short months, we have been inundated with chat boards, editorials, news media, web blasts, and our government updates. Differing opinions, inconsistent information, disputable science and pure fear has become our mainstay at home. Many of us had tuned out with Human Resource issues in the past but have since accepted the information overload offered with CERB, CEWS, BCAP, CEBA, CECRA and our pandemic insurance clauses. So many acronyms and so little clarity.

As I write this there are rumours of provinces relieving the harsh restrictions and allowing us to practice in the new Era. We all have questions, but to date few concrete answers.

What will be the new standards for PPE? Level 1, Level 3, N95, Respirator or PAPR? And are they even available? Single use or Reusable?

Who knew a proper Doffing technique was so important for avoiding contamination?

Do I need to install an HVAC system? How many air exchanges? Positive or Negative pressure?

Do I need to close my open bay operatories?

What is the best oral rinse?

Can I test a patient for Covid in my office and who pays for that?

Should I really use my handpiece? How long do I have to wait before I clean my room?

Do I need a UV light to ensure the room is totally clean? Or fumigate? Or is a full room wipe down good enough?

How many patients can I see?

The more pressing and uncertain question: how long will this last and will we ever return to normal?

The Covid -19 pandemic will continue to differ broadly across the country as all of the provinces differ with their medical, dental and governmental guidelines. As a surgeon we have often been informed and aligned with stricter infection prevention and control protocols with our involvement in the hospital setting. I would recommend all surgeons reach out and help our dental colleagues to navigate this drastic change together. The stress of closure has been difficult to get accustomed to, and the stress with reopening will certainly be present for time to come. Every day our outlook changes and our efforts to flatten the curve have been for a purpose. We at the CAOMS wish to help point our membership and all of our dental colleagues forward to the future together

This virus has affected everyone. The CAOMS would like to acknowledge with sincere appreciation, all frontline healthcare workers tirelessly keeping everybody safe. Please, everyone take a pause to remember all those healthcare has lost, both locally and abroad. In Memoriam….

About the Author

Miller Smith is the President-Elect, CAOMS and Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Calgary, AB.